A study into the fonts used by the top 1,000 websites

Data scientist Michael Li studied the top 1,000 websites and the fonts they used to spot any trends in layouts, design choices, and colours and “to better quantitatively understand the world of web design”. I recommend you check to the whole study but I’ll pull out a few things I found:

  • The most popular number of fonts used in the font-family stack was 2 (so, something like { font-family: Arial, sans-serif; })
  • 14px and 16px are the most common font sizes for paragraph text
  • For headings, “designers choose to use a larger size more often than a heavier weight (94% vs. 82%), but they often use both (76%)”

Nothing too surprising if you know about web design. Sans-serif fonts are most common and paragraph text is most often used at the standard size of 16px (or 1em/rem) and most sites don’t go for a large font stack. For this site, I use a system font stack with a lot of fallbacks for all devices, should my custom font not work for you.

Font related: Helsingin Sanomat’s ‘Climate Crisis’ font that shrinks with the Arctic sea ice, 10 alternatives to Helvetica, and the history of Times New Roman.

Setups: a collection of creator workspaces and tools

If you’re still working from home, doing a hybrid thing, or looking to work from home in the future, you might need some inspiration for your workspace. Setups is a “repository of workspaces, items & tools from the creator community” and could be the answer.

Product designer Siddharth Arun put it all together and takes submissions for the site.

There’s also an Items section that displays the various pieces of tech people use.

Follow @setups_ on Twitter or @setupsco on Instagram for updates.

Los Angeles' new tourism logo looks super cool

Apparently, locals are divided over the new logo but I like it and Rob Beschizza made a good point about its implied “specific synth baseline”.

The logo was designed by House Industries and Studio Number One, which was founded by artist Shepard Fairey.

“When you say ‘Los Angeles’ it doesn’t necessarily mean just a city,” Fairey said. “It’s a whole mindset, a vibe, a culture. And as an Angeleno, it was exciting to me to take on the creative challenge of designing a mark representing all the things that Los Angeles means to people.”

Quote from CBS

Very 80s, much synthwave, wow!

(via Boing Boing)

Reagan Ray's Marvel superhero letterings

I love these Marvel 3D-letter designs by Reagan Ray which he explained in a recent post:

I just started getting into comic books for the first time a few years ago. My son was interested as well, so we started making regular trips to the comic book store (pre-covid, of course). We loved looking at the artwork and lettering of the older comics. And like most lettering, right around the late 90s, it all went to shit. The hand-lettering masterpieces were abandoned for fonts and photoshop effects. With that said, I limited this post to the pre-’00s. I wanted to do something more vintage, but there are just too many from the 80s and 90s that I love. My absolute favorite was seeing all the interpretations of 3D type.

They’re all amazing and I’d wear each and every one of them on a t-shirt.

12 objects unnecessarily covered in gold

I like gold pens and I once had a gold cover for my Game Boy Color which I loved. But a gold AK-47? A gold Porsche? Why? I guess rich people would reply “why not?” and to that I say, pay your taxes.

iPods, Nikons, vibrators, Hummers someone has released a really crass gold plated gadget for the arms dealer market. Gizmodo suggested the gold plated shuffle “signaled the downfall of civilization”, vote according to which item you think is the most revolting.

(via oobject)

Helsingin Sanomat's 'Climate Crisis' font weights shrink with the Arctic sea ice

Climate change font graph

Helsingin Sanomat is Finland’s largest subscription newspaper, based in the nation’s capital, Helsinki. In response to the growing climate crisis, the publication created The Climate Crisis Font, a variable font with weights that change gradually but dramatically:

The font’s design is based on data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (https://nsidc.org) and predictions provided by the IPCC (https://www.ipcc.ch/srocc/). The heaviest font weight represents the minimum extent of the Arctic sea ice in the year 1979, when satellite measuring began. The lightest weight represents IPCC’s 2050 forecast, when the Arctic sea ice minimum is expected to have shrunk to only 30 % of the 1979 extent.

The Green Experience

Green is the colour of Kermit the Frog, Mike Wazowski, and two-thirds of Nigeria’s national flag. It’s associated with nature, fertility, tranquillity, money, good luck, health, movement, and ecology. It can also signify illness and envy. Grass is green, the Chicago River is green once a year for St. Patrick’s Day, many political parties are green. Great gardeners have green fingers, inexperienced ones might be greenhorns, and jealous ones might be green-eyed monsters.

Green is my second favourite colour behind red (sorry, blue, you’re in 3rd place now!) thanks to Sporting CP. Green is also a traditional colour in Islam, associated with paradise in the Quran.

A passage from the Quran describes paradise as a place where people “will wear green garments of fine silk.” One hadith, or teaching, says, “When Allah’s Apostle died, he was covered with a Hibra Burd,” which is a green square garment. As a result, you’ll see green used to color the binding of Qurans, the domes of mosques, and, yes, campaign materials.

via Slate

J. Milton Hayes’s “Yellow God” had a green eye (likely an emerald), Andrew Marvell’s “The Garden” said “No white nor red was ever seen / So am’rous as this lovely green.”, and D. H. Lawrence said the dawn was “apple-green”. Aliens are often green, little, and men for some reason.

The green room is where performers wait before they go on stage, there are at least 250 films in Letterboxd with “green” in the title including Green Book, Green Lantern, The Green Hornet, The Green Mile, and 17 films simply called Green.

Green and gold go together perfectly in a room and green Victorian tiles adorn many London Underground corridors (but not Green Park’s for some reason).

Judy Horacek and Mem Fox asked “Where Is The Green Sheep?“, Dr. Seuss wrote about Green Eggs and Ham, and Hemingway talked about the Green Hills of Africa (specifically East Africa). Kermit sang it ain’t easy being green, Tom Jones sang about the green green grass of home and Beyoncé gave us the green light (as did John Legend).

In art, you have Karel Appel’s The Green Cat, Lilian Thomas Burwell’s Greening, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Queen Green, and Jean Gabriel Domergue’s Green Park. There have been 3 green colours chosen as Pantone’s Colour of the Year between 2000 and 2021 (the most recent was emerald in 2014).

There’s a lot of love about green.

Solange turns Saint Heron into a multidisciplinary creative agency

Exciting news for Black and Brown creativity:

Originally launched in 2013 as a digital hub for cultural conversations, Saint Heron’s mission has been to preserve, collect, and uplift stories, works, and archives that amplify Black and brown voices. Now, in its next phase, it will release a dossier of literary and visual retrospectives of Black family and artist lineages through a series of temporary digital exhibitions, viewable on the Saint Heron website. Available for seven to 10 days, they will offer an in-depth look at emerging talent across art, sculpture, photography, design, and artisanship. 

How to make a Hey Arnold! skateboard

Making A Hey Arnold Skateboard!

North West Decks tried his hand at making a Hey Arnold! skateboard using some cool-looking decals. Before watching, I assume the decals were complete with the outlines and the colour but they were separate, meaning you need a steady hand and an eye for detail. The result is the coolest thing this side of 1998.

Follow North West Decks on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

archives.design archives designs from the Internet Archive

This almost feels like archival inception and that’s honestly the best kind of inception to me.

archives.design is a digital archive of design-related items from the Internet Archive, curated by Valery Marier. She runs the site in her free time. Naturally, the site itself is beautifully crafted and seeing all the covers on a digital shelf in all their glory is exquisite.

Submit an item to the collection by emailing Valery at info@archives.design.

Carry A Bag Man's carrier bag designs

Aaron Thompson’s job involves garden maintenance and clearing out derelict homes but in his spare time, he goes by the name of Carry A Bag Man on Instagram. The account is dedicated to retro carry bags he finds on his travels.

The power of something so simple as a crinkled old carrier bag hit Aaron time and time again on his searches, and when he found a bag relating to his own life in a 1990s Kwik Save bag, “I was hooked.”

Since expanding his collection, he decided to include bundles from local auctions: “After collecting them for five years, I started to realise that I should probably do something with them all,” Aaron tells It’s Nice That. In need of a way to revisit his finds “without having to haul out all the storage boxes under my bed,” he began to photograph each find, laid flat to showcase their iconic design and shape. Instagram resultantly appeared to be “the fasted way to go about archiving them all,” and is where Aaron has been selflessly pasting design inspiration over the past two years as Carry A Bag Man.

The retro designs on these carrier bags are glorious. They transport me back to the 90s.

(via It’s Nice That)

10 alternatives to Helvetica

Helvetica weights

Helvetica has been everywhere for decades. But it’s not free (or original) so you might want a different take on the classic sans serif. Extensis compiled a list of the 10 best Helvetica alternatives.

Most of these I’ve used or otherwise own but a few I’d not seen before, including:

Theinhardt is my #1 from the list. What’s yours? Let me know in the comments.

Where did Ruff & Mews go from Petco's new logo?

petco logos

Erastus Kingbolt wrote about Petco’s latest logo dissolution in his Systems Theory newsletter. Where once Ruff and Mews once sat, now we are left with a generic blue wordmark:

Cold and lifeless is a fair description, isn’t it? There are absolutely no friendly animals, the font is somehow even more sterile than it was beforeand in place of the already watered-down red there is the inanimate blue of Marshalls and USPS. The jokes about the health and wellness part write themselves, but I will say that even the CEO doesn’t seem to think that it’s true. “We’re transitioning from being a company that asks, ‘Can I help you put that big bag of dog food into your cart?’ into a full health and wellness company,” he told Fortune. “Today, Petco is the ONLY complete health and wellness company for pets,” he wrote in the opening letter of the IPO filing. A few more times and he’ll be convinced.

I love a wordmark logo but not as a progression from something that already works. Petco’s original logo with its jellied red text and happy-go-lucky pets was playful, fun, and engaging (you rarely see a cat and dog so chummy together). But now it’s just like any other logo. Before you knew Petco was for pets before you even saw the word—great for non-English speakers—but now you assume it’s for pets, despite the vague tagline underneath.

People showed disdain but I don’t see the new branding causing significant damage to Petco. It’s just a shame that another brand has fallen foul of the dreaded Minimalist Logo Syndrome.

Pet related: when pets wore masks during the 1918 flu pandemic

Sophia Tassew's Khula jewellery brand is dope

Sophia Tassew with 4 models wearing Khula earrings

Last year, I said I wanted to showcase more Black content, particularly creative endeavours and projects that deserve all the spotlights and this is the perfect example of that.

Khula is a jewellery brand by Sophia Tassew, a plus-size content creator from South East London. You may recognise her name from an earlier blog post I wrote about A Quick Ting On—she’ll be releasing a book about her experiences in 2022. In an interview with Bricks Magazine, she called Khula “a sort of homage to my parents who come from Ethiopia and South Africa.”

I’ve always wanted to have my own earring collection or design something. I always thought it would come in the form of a brand collaboration but it didn’t and still hasn’t so I decided to start it myself and learn how to make earrings. Also, as a plus sized girl, growing up, my fashion and style journey was tedious. You were forced to shop for clothes that were meant for people three times your age or the mens section. The only thing I could always rely on were earrings. They’ve been my savouir (sic) many times as well as a small representation of who I am and where I come from. So much growth has happened between then and now and that’s exactly what Khula means in Zulu, grow. 

Sophia runs Khula completely on her own, working very long nights and making her vast collection of earrings by hand, as well as packing and posting the products herself. It’s the epitome of a one-woman team.

I especially love the late 60s/70s vibe from the designs, which she said inspired her alongside her roots from East Africa and South Africa:

Taking inspiration from my heritage and putting that into my brand makes me feel so much closer to my roots in a way that I know how, and a language that I understand which is jewellery. I’m very interested in Black people from different eras and celebrating them and their looks.

If you can, please support Khula and buy something from the store when the next batch drops. And follow both the Khula brand and Sophia on Instagram.

(featured image taken by Chad McLean from Instagram [his website])